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|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
Facing a team that's missing three key players could be what finally helps the Minnesota Wild end the worst road losing streak in franchise history.
Minnesota tries for its first road win in nearly six weeks when it meets the injury-riddled Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
The Wild (18-15-2) also will be looking for their first win at the Air Canada Centre, having been outscored 11-3 while losing all three matchups there.
Since posting a 7-6 shootout win at Nashville on Nov. 16, the Wild have gone 0-7-1 on the road. Coming into this season, Minnesota had not lost more than six straight away from home.
After being held to one goal for the third straight road game in a loss to Detroit on Friday, Minnesota earned a home-and-home split by beating the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. Pierre-Marc Bouchard beat Chris Osgood on a breakaway 45 seconds into the extra period to give Minnesota its league-leading 11th overtime victory and 14th at home overall.
"That was a nice Christmas present," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.
A goal with 3:27 to play in regulation by Minnesota's Mark Parrish forged a 3-3 tie. It was his 10th of the season, giving the Wild a second double-digit goal scorer this season along with Brian Rolston (16). Parrish, though, has no goals and three assists during the Wild's road skid.
Despite its struggles on the road, Minnesota is tied with Colorado and Edmonton for first place in the Northwest Division, where all five teams are separated by only three points.
Toronto (16-16-5) got two third-period goals from Mats Sundin on Saturday, but fell 3-2 to Washington for its third straight loss.
Already without Alexei Ponikarovsky (separated shoulder) and Kyle Wellwood (hip flexor), the Maple Leafs were given more bad news before taking the ice. Earlier in the day, Michael Peca underwent surgery for a broken leg suffered on a knee-to-knee hit from Chicago's Jim Vandermeer in a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Friday.
"He's not a guy you immediately replace," Toronto general manager John Ferguson said of Peca, who will miss three to four months.
The Leafs will rely more on Sundin to carry them, but he said others need to contribute.
"Peca is arguably one of the best defensive forwards in the league, but a lot of teams fight through injuries," said Sundin, who is tied with Tomas Kaberle for the team lead with 32 points. "We're on a bubble for a playoff spot. We need to have more desperation. We need more urgency."
The Maple Leafs are two points behind the New York Islanders and Washington, which are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
One player Sundin may have been referring to is Darcy Tucker, who leads the team with 19 goals but has just three in 10 games this month. Tucker has no points in four career games against Minnesota.
|Dec 26 '06||MIN 3 at TOR 4||J. O'Neill|